Tales From The Chalkface: Porn Puppets

Got your attention?

That’s what I watched in school this week. Let me explain: my oldest students performed a piece they’d been working on, based on techniques developed by Krakow’s own world theatre practitioner, Kantor. In one of his plays, he had his actors use life-sized puppets to represent an aspect of their characters. In this case, it was the now vanished childhood of pupils in a class – my students chose to use their puppets to express the threats of corruption and being dehumanised by unreal media-created expectations.

In one scene I watched, baffled but fascinated, as their puppets became porn stars forced into a variety of athletic acts. The director’s instructions to: “Do it harder, faster!”

In case you’re wondering what the puppets were like, each student had made a life-sized approximation (some more approximate than others) of a human being out of old tights stuffed with newspapers then carefully, and in one case, with great difficulty, sewn together. No chance of those providing titillation.

Meanwhile, in the English newspapers, I find a headline in the education section: SCHOOLS SHOULD GIVE LESSONS ABOUT PORNOGRAPHY. The article goes on to say that students need to know that porn does not reflect real life. Comments pointed out how readily available porn is, so schools should equip their students with accurate information about sexual issues that takes this into account. I was taken aback to think that pornography is part of teenagers’ reality, but thinking about it, which 14-year-old boy wouldn’t want to Google ideas that pop into his head at an idle moment. All he has to do is pick up his phone and type in “big breasts” or “gay love” to see an array of things I’d rather not think about. I think most girls would not be so keen. and this in itself can create another barrier. More than ever, our children need the confidence to understand this rip off and the strength to keep control of their bodies.

As I watched those puppets, derided for their missionary position, it was clear that these students had made a moral stand.

They’re going to need to. Further on in the newspaper, I read a more disturbing item. According to a Leeds University study, increasingly numbers of students are turning to stripping to subsidise their education. The flexible hours fit in with lectures.

It’s hateful to think my energy might be spent on enabling young people to go into a world where they could be the puppets of the sex industry.

I hope I’m educating so nobody gets to pull their strings.

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